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Ricarda Cross Spee Obituary
Ricarda Cross Spee

November 16, 1927 ~ October 31, 2012

Ricarda Cross Spee lost her 8-month battle with brain cancer on October 31, 2012 at her home in Edmonds, Washington. She was 84 years old. Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, to Constance and Samuel Cross on November 16, 1927, she was the youngest of three sisters including Caroline (Nanine) Chase and Ann Limerick who preceded her in death. Together, they called themselves "The Three Graces" after a painting by Botticelli that hung in their parent's parlor.

Ricarda grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts and attended Shady Hill School, Peabody Elementary, Buckingham School, and Brimmer-May School in Boston. After graduating from high school in Pittsburgh, PA; she attended University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where she received her B.A. in English.

In 1951, Ricarda married Karl Jacob Spee of Grand Rapids, Michigan and together moved to Seattle. They had six children and built their home in Renton where she lived until 1996 when she moved to Shoreline, WA. In 2001, she moved to Bell Street in Edmonds where she resided until her death.

Ricarda loved reading, travelling with her sisters, choral music, theater, volunteer work, and her career. Her house was always full of books. An avid camper in her youth, she enjoyed meeting her sisters for Elderhostels around the US, barge trips in Europe, or a week at her sister Nanine's house in Rockport, MA. She loved to meet friends for choral concerts in Seattle and had season tickets to Intiman and Seattle Repertory Theatre.

Ricarda was dedicated to helping others. She volunteered at her church, in PTA at her children's schools, at the Juvenile Court Diversion Committee in Renton, and at Senior Services in Seattle. Her longest and deepest volunteer commitment was her weekly and sometimes twice weekly shift at the Crisis Clinic suicide prevention hotline in Seattle that began in 1977 and continued for the next 35 years.

After starting her family, she helped her husband Karl found Alpine Helicopters in 1963 and learned accounting by handling all of the records for the business. After her divorce in 1977, she worked briefly for Elling Halvorson Construction before joining Advertising Distributor Services, in downtown Seattle, and then Technic Water Services in Ballard. The longest and most successful role of her career was at Spee West Construction in Edmonds. Between the founding of the company by her son Douglas in 1990 and her reluctant retirement in 2010, she worked on 84 Spee West projects.

Ricarda is survived by her six children: Mark Spee of Olympia, WA; Douglas Spee of Shoreline, WA; James Spee of Redlands, CA; Constance Mumford of Kalamazoo, MI; David Spee of Maui, HI; and Robert Spee of Alpharetta, GA; 17 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.

A celebration of her life will be held at Edmonds United Methodist Church, 828 Caspers Street, Edmonds, WA 98020 on December 15, 2012 at 11:00 a.m.

Donations in her memory can be sent to:

The Crisis Clinic, 9725 Dexter Ave Ste 300, Seattle, WA 98115 or at http://www.crisisclinic.org/donations.html

Senior Services, Attn: Resource Development, 2208 2nd Ave, Ste 100, Seattle, WA 98121 http://www.seniorservices.org/HowYouCanHelp/Donate.aspx

Condolences to the family can be sent care of Spee West Construction, 307 Bell Street, Edmonds, WA 98020.

Beck's Funeral Home in Edmonds, WA is handling the arrangements. To leave a remembrance, please visit http://www.becksfuneralhome.com/obituary.php?id=1443.
Published in The Seattle Times from Nov. 8 to Nov. 9, 2012
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